Book Review: Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...

Title: Black City
Author: Elizabeth Richards
Series: first book in the Black City trilogy

Synopsis: "In the aftermath of a brutal and bloody war, in the still-smoldering Black City, sixteen-year-olds Natalie Buchanan and Ash Fisher do the unthinkable - they fall in love. Natalie, a human and the daughter of a government official, is still reeling from her father's murder by a crazed Darkling, upending her entire life. So how can she now be falling for Ash, a brooding half-blood Darkling boy? Natalie's heart betrays everything she's ever believed with one magnetic beat, forcing her to choose between her family and the boy she loves.

Ash tries desperately to deny his feelings for Natalie. She is a Sentry brat, after all. The very Sentry who would love nothing more than to see all Darklings totally eradicated from the United Sentry States. For now, they've settled for banishing all Darklings to the wrong side of the ghetto wall. Despite being half-human and being allowed to live on the human side, Ash is still scorned wherever he goes, always wondering what it would be like on the other side of the wall with his own kind. Then Natalie steps into his life, a calming force, and he, too, has to choose. But choosing Natalie could get them both killed.

A page-turning and passionate romance set in a mesmerizing and perilous world, Black City is a rich, atmospheric read not to be missed."

My thoughts: It has been about a week and half since I read this, and I'm still quite undecided about Black City.
Firstly, the premise of this book is interesting, and there were quite a few little plot additions that I found very very awesome. (I want go into them for fear of spoilers.) The characters were intriguing and obviously conflicted, and there were a few twists in the story that I did not see coming, which made for an exciting read.
However, I did have some issues with this book. There's a lot of argument going around about this book's romance - some people think it lacked believability and happened too fast, others feel that it was romantic and spontaneous in just the right amounts. I am probably more of the former group than the latter. It's not that I don't believe in love at first sight... But the relationship between Ash and Natalie just felt a little forced at times. I was able to get on board eventually, but initially I had reservations about what was happening and why. 
I think the main issue I had, which probably contributed to my inability to connect with the romance in the book, was that I never felt like I could completely connect with either character. They kind of felt like cardboard cutouts at times - the kid from the wrong side of the tracks, the girl who had been raised rich and then had everything taken away to leave her bitter and somewhat jaded. I never really felt like either character stopped to think about anything EVER and that made it really difficult for me to keep reading.

The problem is that I need a bit of a pause for thought between action scenes, and this book rarely offered that to me. I have pondered for days over whether this is a personal preference or a failing of the book because, honestly, the world in which Ash and Natalie live is clearly going through turmoil and that would rarely give them time to pause and think. But, whether it be my own preference or the book's, I felt like the plot was just firing things at me continuously, with no room for me to stop and ask 'wait...what?'.

In the end, yes, I did finish this book. I even enjoyed it. But I don't feel any desire to read it again, and I am still unsure whether I am invested enough in the characters to want to read book two: Phoenix. I guess I'll see.

You would like this book if: You enjoy paranormal romance with heavy doses of action and plot twists.

Rating:  7/10

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